Before starting my law firm, I used to wonder why law firms seem so static. I used to think that law firms were simply content keeping things the same all the time. Innovation is often more happenstance than anything at most law firms. The idea of innovation is an attack on the status quo. Many firms feel very comfortable simply protecting the status quo.
But starting my own law firm makes me realize that many of these firms aren’t standing still by choice. They simply lack the will to move their firms forward. There is little question that innovation and change requires tremendous will. In fact, it takes a substantial amount of will simply to hang on to the status quo. Those who say the status quo is merely easy are wrong.
Another factor is in play here. Lawyers that are overly focused on billing hours don’t have time to be innovators or implement change. Every hour spent in those areas is an hour which is lost on the monthly total pushed on the clients. Some law firms have lawyers who do not need to bill many hours or work under formulas which simply encourage origination. Those lawyers don’t have to worry much about income and can spend time thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, those lawyers are the most likely ones to simply spend time fighting off anyone else who is trying to muscle in on "their share."
People who are most likely to be innovators in the practice of law – the lawyers, who have the will to make innovation happen, are the ones with passion for innovation. The lawyers who will lead the next generation of our profession by pushing the edges will be the ones who wake up in the morning with something on their mind beyond meeting their hourly billing target for the month. Penny pinching lawyers will spend their time protecting the status quo.